Hand-foot-and-mouth disease


Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, a typically mild and contagious viral infection prevalent among young children, manifests through symptoms such as mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, primarily caused by the coxsackievirus. While there is no targeted treatment for this condition, mitigating measures like regular hand-washing and minimizing contact with infected individuals can aid in reducing the risk of transmission to children.


 Common Symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Malaise (Feeling Sick)
  • Painful lesions: blister-like sores on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks.
  • Rash: Appears on the palms, soles, and sometimes the buttocks. Non-itchy, with possible blisters. The rash may present as red, white, gray, or as tiny bumps, depending on skin tone.
  • Fussiness: Particularly observed in infants and toddlers.
  • Loss of Appetite

Incubation Period: Typically 3 to 6 days from initial infection.

Progression of Symptoms:

  • Initial stage: Children may experience fever, sore throat, and loss of appetite.
  • Following days: Painful sores may develop in the mouth and throat, along with a rash on the hands, feet, and sometimes buttocks.
  • Related illness: Sores in the back of the mouth and throat might suggest herpangina, accompanied by sudden high fever and, occasionally, seizures. In rare instances, sores may develop on other body parts.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is typically a mild illness, lasting a few days with fever and mild symptoms. However, contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your child is under six months old.
  • Your child has a weakened immune system.
  • Mouth sores or a sore throat make it painful to drink fluids.
  • Symptoms persist for more than 10 days without improvement.


Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is primarily caused by infection with coxsackievirus 16, a member of the nonpolio enterovirus group. Additionally, other types of enteroviruses can also lead to the development of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

The transmission of the coxsackievirus and the occurrence of hand-foot-and-mouth disease commonly take place through the oral route. The contagion spreads through person-to-person contact with an infected individual’s:

  • Stool
  • Saliva
  • Liquid emanating from blisters
  • Particles of respiratory droplets dispersed into the air through coughing or sneezing.
  • Secretions from the nose or throat discharge

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is particularly prevalent among children in childcare settings due to the necessity for frequent diaper changes, assistance with toilet use, and the common habit of putting hands in their mouths.

The peak contagious period for your child occurs during the initial week of experiencing hand-foot-and-mouth disease. However, even after symptoms subside, the virus can persist in the body for several weeks, making the child capable of transmitting the infection to others.It’s noteworthy that some individuals, particularly adults, may transmit the virus without displaying any symptoms of the disease.

Risk factors

The primary risk factor for hand-foot-and-mouth disease is age, with the condition predominantly affecting children between the ages of 5 to 7 years old. Children attending child care facilities are particularly susceptible due to the virus spreading through person-to-person contact.

While hand-foot-and-mouth disease typically targets young children, it can affect individuals of any age. Older children and adults are generally believed to possess immunity against hand-foot-and-mouth disease, often developing antibodies after exposure to the causative viruses. However, adolescents and adults may still contract the disease on occasion.